I was inspired to write this story after hours of listening to NPR back in February of 2020. The inspiration came to me late at night whilst bathing.
In a nutshell it is a love story between a tortured visual artist named Carlisle Snowden and a violinist with a troubled past named Alexandra Barbu.
Both characters do indeed live a Bohemian lifestyle, hence the title of the story.
I takes place in the early 2020 in what I imagine to be New York City, but I began writing this just before Coronavirus became an issue.
NYC is obviously now a very different place as are many other population centers around the world.
Maybe it could reflect a rebirth of arts and humanities once this pandemic is over.
Like me, my main character, Carlisle Snowden, also frequently listens to NPR and like me, does so to inspire creativity.
Without further ado, here are the excerpts:
Alexandra’s abusive uncle was waiting in the front to pick her up, when he witnessed pianist and most experienced member Davis Istre giving her a handful of cash, saying, “You earned it girl, with those mad violin skills! You bring our group to a whole new dimension, and you were awesome at our last gig, so go buy yourself something nice!”
She hugged him and thanked him, then saw her uncle.
“Let’s go!” He said impatiently, “I want us to get out of this part of the city before the sun goes down and all the riff-raff come out!”
Saxophonist Leroy James answered him, “Chill out man! And don’t be so full of hate!”
“Spoken like a true blue dope head,” Her uncle replied with disgust, “I’m surprised you don’t use your saxophone as a bong pipe.”
He then looked at Alexandra and said, “Now you come with me right now young lady!”
Alexandra rolled her eyes and then left with her uncle.
They walked out of the abandoned building and into his single cab older GMC truck.
“I know that those in your band smoke that dope. I better not find out that you smoke dope or I will kick you out of my house.”
“No, I don’t smoke dope. I’m already fat and if I smoke dope, I’ll likely get fatter and have wrinkles as well.”
“Well, the fact that you are fat means you will never make it in the music industry. So you should go back to school or get a real job like everyone else.”
Alexandra was now getting angry, but kept calm and concealed it, saying, “I don’t know, what about Meghan Trainor?”
“I never heard of her,” Her uncle replied.
“That figures, otherwise you wouldn’t have made that ignorant statement.”
“Watch that attitude young lady, you will never be too old for me to backhand you.”
“That’s where you are wrong. If you lay a single finger on me, I will press charges.”
“How dare you! You are riding in my vehicle and staying under my roof and you would press charges on me after all your aunt and I did for you.” There was a tense silence but then he continued, “You know what, give me your money, you owe me for food and rent!”
“I need that money to keep my phone turned on so I can keep in touch with my band,” Alexandra protested.
“Well, that’s too bad. Now give me your money or you can find somewhere else to stay.”
“You’re such a jerk!”
“No, you just need a dose of reality, big time! Now give me your money…”
“I’ll speak to my aunt first,” Alexandra said, pulling out her phone.
“If you call her you can get out right now.”
“Then put me down right here. I’ve had enough of you anyway.”
“Fine, have it your way. Now get out!”
Alexandra unbuckled her seat belt, opened the door and stepped out onto the sidewalk.
Her uncle then flung her violin in its case out the door then said, “And take that stupid instrument with you!”
An elderly black lady came outside and said, “Carlisle, I heard you shouting what happened, baby?”
Alexandra spoke up and told her, “It’s partially my fault, ma’am. My uncle was driving me to his house but we had an argument and he kicked me out of his truck. He then threw my violin out as well and it knocked this young man’s easel down and ruined his painting.”
“Well, I’m going to have to call the police then, people can’t just be abandoning minors on a city street.”
“But, I’m not a minor. I’m actually twenty-going-on-twenty-one,” Alexandra said, then continued, “But I do, however, have no place to go.”
The artist spoke, “Wow, I thought I had issues. I’m very blessed compared to you! My name is Carlisle Snowden by the way.”
“You are blessed, Carlisle and your blessings will continue as long as you be a blessing to others. Just remember to keep taking that medicine, keep letting your light of kindness shine to others around you and keep painting those beautiful pictures!” The elderly black lady said.
“It’s nice to meet both of you, I’m Alexandra Barbu.”
The elderly black lady answered her, “You can call me Mother Nellie. I look out for the whole neighborhood and I pray for everybody.” She paused and then said, “Something tells me there was a reason that both of you met.”
Carlisle’s face grew very serious as he looked at her and said, “Mother Nellie, if you’re suggesting what I think you’re suggesting, I believe Alexandra is a bit too young for me.”
“Child, age is just a number. Besides, I know how lonely you are and how you’ve been praying that the Lord send you someone special. She just might be the answer to your prayers! I know you’re one of the few white men in the neighborhood and she is also white. I’m very aware of the racial tension that exists, so I think you and her would be perfect together! While I think mixed babies are beautiful, I know they receive a lot of ill-treatment in this cruel, hateful world.”
“You don’t look that old anyway,” Alexandra said.
“I just made thirty-four,” Carlisle replied.
“Wow. I thought you would have been twenty-two or twenty-three, twenty-five, tops. I mean, you are very cute!”
“Well, thanks. I get that a lot. But, see, I’m probably too old for you.”
“What if I told you that I’m very mature for an twenty-going-on-twenty-one-year old and I do like older guys?!”
“I don’t know. You are very pretty and you seem sweet, but I have a lot of reverence for you and…”
“You’re making me blush! It’s a good thing though if you have reverence for me, that means you would treat me well.”
“Yes, that’s true, I suppose.”
“We also have a lot in common, I mean we’re both artists in our respects. I bet I could play my violin while you paint and inspire you to create some beautiful portraits or I could study your previous paintings and be inspired to play some beautiful music.”
“Come to think of that, as Mother Nellie said, I have been praying that the Lord send me a significant other, and I would want my relationship with her to have exactly those attributes. Maybe age is just a number after all.”
“Well, duh, silly!” Alexandra replied, then continued soberly, “But am I too fat for you, though?”
“As I said before, I think you’re very pretty, weight included! And more importantly, you have a beautiful heart and a brilliant mind!”
“You’re making me blush even more, but I feel so giddy!”
“I can see you blushing and I think it’s adorable! I’d like to kiss you where you are blushing, but I don’t want to overstep my bounds.”
“Aw, that is so sweet. By the way, you wouldn’t be overstepping your bounds. I’d want you to kiss me. In fact, come here and kiss me right now!”
Carlisle walked off the steps and onto the sidewalk.
Mother Nellie said, “I’ll leave you two alone.” She then went inside.
I would like to be in on their jam sessions and paint while they make music.”
“They would be flattered, I’m sure.”
“When is the next time you practice with them?”
“Not tomorrow but the next day.”
“Do you think I could come and paint?”
“Where does your band meet to practice?”
“There’s an abandoned building a few blocks away.”
“Wow! Just from what you describe your band seems very genuine. I bet they make the most awesome music. What is their name?”
“A Litte Bit of Everything (And Not Too Much of Nothing.)”
“That is so original! I now cannot wait to hear you play with them!”
“I would like to see some of your paintings, if that’s all right.”
“Of course! I’d be honored to show you!”
Carlisle walked to his closet and pulled out several painted canvases.
“There’s this blogger who’s work I love to read,” He said, “I typically read the fiction page of his blog and then meditate on his stories, once my heart and mind are full of inspiration I try to bring those stories to life in my paintings.”
He began to show them to Alexandra one by one:
“This first one,” He said, “Is a portrait of a young couple sitting in an urban park. He is reading his stories to her and she is hanging on to his every word. Look, you can almost feel what they are feeling!”
“It’s kind of like us, but in a parallel universe,” Alexandra replied.
“Here’s another one, two teenage runaways hiding under an overpass on a cold night. It’s them against the world but look how much in love they are!”
“Yes! Yes! I can feel it! Show me some more!”
“Very well: Here is a teenage couple laying together in the fields on a dreary day. He is cradled in her lap, but look how he stares up at her with so much love!”
“I want to cradle you in my lap if that’s all right with you. There’s so much more I want to do with you as well!”
“I desire those things as well, Alexandra, but you do command a lot of reverence!”
“Then if you revere me so much, give in to my desires!”
Carlisle hugged Alexandra then they share a few kisses once again.
“I would like to cradle you in my lap, that is if you would want that as well.”
“Sounds wonderful to me. Let me pull out the mattress on my futon.”
“I have a Sony portable radio that’s probably older than you and I use it to listen to NPR. However, I’m probably the only resident of this building who listens to that network. There’s some fine music on at this hour if you want to listen.”
“Wow! I too would try to listen to NPR, but then my uncle broke my radio in a fit of anger when he caught me doing so. He took a sledge hammer and crushed it to pieces. Of course, he did that also to my computer, which I lost so many of my recordings.”
Carlisle said, “He sounds like a terrible person and how I saw him act today further backs that assumption I have about him,”
“You assume correctly though!” Alexandra answered.
“I don’t have it in me to act like that, unless I’m severely provoked,”
“Well I think someone would have to do something extremely wrong to provoke you.”
Alexandra smiled at Carlisle and he plugged his radio into the electrical socket, then extended out the FM antenna and turned it on, placing it on the window sill as he said to her, “Well, for the record, in my place, you may listen to NPR or anything else you wish to hear until your heart is content!”
Alexandra then sat on the mattress of the futon and Carlisle rested the back of his head in her lap and looked up at her face with admiration.
She played with his curly hair and spoke as they listened to classical music, “I’ve never met a man like you, but I must confess I am falling for you quickly!”
“The feeling is mutual! I’m so sorry I misjudged you about your age because you do seem so perfect for me!”
“It’s quite all right. All that tells me is what a decent guy you are!”
“Thank you. That means a whole lot coming from someone like you!”
“Well, I mean every word of it,” Alexandra said as she continued to play with Carlisle’s hair and rubbed his face with her soft hands.
They rested on the futon and listened to the radio until Carlisle heard Alexandra’s stomach growling. The noise became increasingly loud.
“Are you hungry?” He asked her.
“Yes. I haven’t eaten since Noon. All my band and I had were doughnuts and coffee.”
Carlisle looked at his SwissGear wristwatch. The hands pointed to 10:17.
“Good Lord, you need to eat, as do I,” He said, then continued, “I made a pot spaghetti around lunchtime, but I can heat it up.”
“That sounds good, I’m not picky. Of course, I’m not picky, look how fat I am!”
“With all reverence due, I think you’re very sexy!”
“Aw. Thank you! Just so you know, there’s a lot of sexy things I want to do with you!”
“As do I but let’s eat first. We both need some nourishment.”
Carlisle and Alexandra walked to the kitchen and he began to heat the pot of sauce and the pot of noodles on his stove.
In time the noodles were steaming and the sauce was bubbling.
He grabbed himself and Alexandra a plate and served both of them a generous portion of noodles and sauce.
He then took a two Liter bottle of Cherry Coke from his refrigerator and poured them each a tall glass as he said, “I don’t know if you prefer Wild Cherry Pepsi or Cherry Coke, but I buy whichever one is on sale.”
“Either one is fine like I said, I’m not picky.”
They then sat down at Carlisle’s coffee table and ate quickly.
To put the thought out of his head, he turned his radio on. The final hour of “Morning Edition” was playing. He listened intently.
As he was getting particularly interested in a news piece, he heard Alexandra flush the toilet then turn on the sink to wash her hands.
She stepped out of the bathroom and kissed him.
“Now I have to use it as well. I’ll make us breakfast afterward,” Carlisle said.
“Good deal,” Alexandra replied.
Carlisle went into the bathroom and relieved himself.
Alexandra listened to the radio and was reminded of the radio that her uncle smashed. She realized that she needed to get what was hers but that he probably wouldn’t let her. She had left him with little more than the clothes on her back and now those clothes were dirty as she had worn them now for over twenty-four hours.
Carlisle finished up in the bathroom. He flushed then washed his hands and stepped out.
“Would you like some off-brand Pop-Tarts?” He asked.
“Sure,” Alexandra replied with slight distress.
“Is everything okay?”
Alexandra began to shudder.
“Are we okay? Maybe it is what I should ask,” Carlisle said.
Alexandra hugged him then kissed him as she replied, “We’re fine, but I’m just realizing I need my clothes and to get them I have to confront my uncle. God only knows what he would do to me or you for that matter.”
Carlisle hugged her tightly then kissed her forehead in return and told her, “Don’t worry about that. There’s a thrift store a block away that sells articles of clothing for twenty-five cents apiece.”
“Also my phone is turned off right now and I cannot keep in touch with my band members. It was shut off at midnight,” Alexandra said with worry.
“Is it a prepaid phone or are you on your uncle’s contract?”
“No, it’s a prepaid phone. I was on my uncle’s plan but he was forever holding it over me, so when I started making money with my band, I got a prepaid phone.”
“Well I have $60 still in my banking account and I get my disability check in just a few days, so, how about I pay for your phone service right now, then I can withdraw the money from the ATM on the corner and we can walk to the thrift store and I can buy you a sexy new wardrobe!”
“That sounds like a wonderful idea, and is very sweet of you but you don’t have to pay. I have some on me that I earned from my band’s last gig. My uncle and I were arguing over that money when he kicked me out of his truck.”
“Wow! I hope I’m not too poor for someone like you,”
“You may be poor financially, but you are cute as can be and you are so sweet. I know a good thing when I see it!”
Alexandra then planted a kiss on Carlisle’s lips.
“You’re beautiful yourself, you know!” Carlisle said as he gently rubbed Alexandra’s love handles, then continued, “And more importantly you have a heart of gold along with a brilliant mind!”
That’s all I am willing to share at the moment.
I hope you, the reader, have enjoyed!